Category Archives: Stress Management

Budget-Friendly Ways for Families to Keep Feeling Their Best Throughout the Pandemic

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Written by Cheryl Conklin

Whether you’re self-isolating or have to leave every day for work, the pandemic has probably taken a toll on your family’s mental and physical health. Adapting to all the changes that come with the pandemic isn’t easy, but luckily, there are many ways to incorporate healthy habits into your lives so you can feel your absolute best. Below, learn what your family can do to stay positive and healthy as you navigate the new normal.

Image via Pexels

Take Care of You 

As a parent, your own health often is a low priority, but it’s hard to take care of everyone else if you’re not in a good place yourself. That’s why this one is first on the list. It’s hard not to feel guilty taking care of yourself first, but it’s crucial for helping your whole family thrive during the pandemic.

Practicing self-care can do wonders for your mental and physical health in any situation, but it’s even more powerful during times with so much uncertainty. Think about what activities or habits make you feel centered, and make time for them each day. You might also want to pamper yourself with a few new products to enhance your self-care routine. Self-care products can be expensive, but they don’t have to be if you look in the right places

Check in With Your Family 

Things are always changing as the pandemic evolves, so it’s important to regularly touch base with your family’s feelings. Providing a welcoming environment for conversation will encourage your children to ask questions and express their emotions. Because uncertain times like these can trigger anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns, it’s more crucial than ever to watch out for signs that your kids or partner need help coping. 

Talking things out can be therapeutic and help you grow closer. However, pandemic-induced anxiety and depression should be taken seriously. Seeking out mental health help for your family might be the best course of action if any of you are struggling to cope on your own. 

Believe it or not, self-care also extends to your surroundings. According to Redfin, a cluttered home can actually create feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as trap “bad energy” that can cause problems for everyone in your family. So, take steps to eliminate clutter and keep your home tidy so everyone’s stress levels will stay as low as possible.

Get Moving 

Physical activity certainly isn’t a cure-all for anxiety and depression, but it’s one of the best ways to improve your family’s mental well-being, not to mention your physical health. A lack of free time is often the biggest stumbling block in the way of regular exercise. If anything positive can be taken from the pandemic, it’s that your family probably has more time to start new routines together. 

You don’t have to go far from home to get fit. In fact, many of the best fitness opportunities can be found at home or in your neighborhood. Try going for a family walk around the block every night or putting on music that will make you want to dance as you do chores together. Not only are these great ways to get your heart rate up, they’re also completely free ways to have fun. 

Cook Together 

Just like fitness, food doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant to be healthy and delicious. And even though much of the world is now in a reopening phase, your family might still feel more comfortable preparing meals at home. Luckily, this is also the best move for your budget. 

Chances are, you already have the ingredients you need to make fun and tasty foods at home. For example, recipes like spinach tortellini soup, skillet rice, or legume quesadillas are healthy and easy to make. By getting your kids to pitch in, you can help instill healthy habits and a lifelong love of cooking. 

The pandemic can be especially hard on parents who are trying to juggle work, school, and family life all at once. Taking care of yourself, checking in with your family’s feelings, and striving for healthy diet and fitness goals are just a few of the things you can do to make it through the pandemic together.

First Steps Toward Healthy Change

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Funny Stressed Cat

Funny Stressed Cat

There is no longer any question about the horrific impact varying degrees of stress can have on our all-to-fragile human system. There are experts such as Drs. Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smith, two people who have dedicated their professional lives to the measurement, analysis, and treatment of stress and stress-related ailments and complaints and many others, who can vouch for both the subtle and not so subtle impact that various forms and degrees of stress can have on those most susceptible and overtaken by stress.

In most of these cases, references are made to the emotional/psychological effects of stress and talks about anxiety and how people who are under a lot of stress, physiologically suffer negative impact on blood pressure, aches and pains (very commonly head pain), heart palpitations (leading to heart problems), and possibly even more damaging long-term effects.

World of Stress

World of Stress

And it is very clear and quite easy to understand the direct correlation between change (especially quick changes) and stress. For almost all of us, whenever things happen to cause high degrees of change in short periods of time, the level of stress experienced increases dramatically. And, this makes sense and can be exhibited by the endless supply of advice we are given by those around us to ‘slow down’ and ‘not move too quickly’ through upsetting events. We are advised to ‘count to 10’ so that our feelings of anger and hurt don’t overtake us and we lose balance with rational thought and our over-burdened emotions.

Alternate View of Stress

Alternate View of Stress

We are taught repeatedly in our life lessons that it is smart to ‘give things time’ or to ‘sleep on it’ and ‘let it simmer’ before making any major decisions that will cause a major change. Very few of us go through life without being told by those closest to us ‘don’t rock the boat’ or ‘take your time’. We humans tend to avoid major change…especially when it occurs quickly. We avoid it and advise our loved ones to do the same.

Perhaps one of the most tumultuous times in our humans lives when things change very quickly (whether we want them to or not) is during the period of time we refer to as adolescence:

* Bodies grow and develop, for some practically overnight

* Hormones that we may never knew we possessed, run rampantly through our system – causing emotions to seem like an open mine field

* Social expectations and pressures play havoc even with those with even the most sturdy and consistent of upbringings

And that is just a brief introduction to some of the landscape of the adolescent portrait.

Parent to Teen

Parent to Teen

We can start by adding a dose of understanding to our teenagers. Knowing and realizing just how ‘at risk’ children in the 13-19 age range are can be a wonderful place to start in helping them (and you as the adult who cares the most about them) restore some extremely-needed balance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!